The 2011 Water Resource Plan anticipates adequate supplies to meet projected demand (including projected growth) for at least the next fifty years under normal conditions. The Plan also identifies water supply strategies to better prepare for the possibility of growing demands coupled with potentially severe surface water shortfalls. While Phoenix will take efforts to reduce water demand during severe shortages, the City will also be working towards making additional supplies available in the future. The main sources of new supplies will include recovering water that has been recharged into the aquifer, reclaimed water, new well capacity and additional supplies from the Central Arizona Project (CAP).
Arizona Water Banking Authority: "Shortage Insurance"
The Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA) has recharged more than 2-million acre-feet of Colorado River water specifically for the benefit of municipal and industrial CAP subcontractors. The water has been stored in numerous aquifer storage facilities and the credits for this water will be available for recovery by CAP when Colorado River allocations are reduced. The means of recovering these credits and related policies are outlined in a joint plan prepared in 2014 by CAP, AWBA, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Though deficit conditions are many years away, the planning coordination, funding and development of capital improvements to make the recovered water available will require substantial effort. Read the "Recovery of Water Stored by the Arizona Water Banking Authority" plan.
Expanded Local Groundwater Reclaimed Water
Service Area Wells
Aside from additional surface water supplies, local groundwater is the most accessible supplemental supply. Through its Designation of Assured Water Supply, the City has demonstrated legal and physical access to more than 3.5 million acre-feet of groundwater in the Phoenix service area over a 100 year period. The City's current groundwater pumping capability is producing about 15,000-20,000 acre-feet per year, but typically withdraws only 6,000 to 9,000 acre-feet per year. Opportunities exist to expand well capacity within the service area by rehabilitating older wells and developing new service area wells.
CAP Allocated for State Trust Lands in Phoenix
A 12,000 acre-foot portion of the municipal and industrial-priority CAP supplies allocated to the Arizona State Land Department was identified for use on State Trust lands located in Phoenix north of Jomax Road. Phoenix's original CAP subcontract envisioned Jomax Road as the City's northern boundary. Based on a 1986 commitment from the State Land Commissioner, this allocation will be transferred to Phoenix as State Trust lands in the area north of Jomax Road are developed.
White Mountain Apache Tribe Lease
As part of the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Agreement. Phoenix has agreed to lease 3,505 acre-feet the Tribe's annual CAP water entitlement for a period of 100 years. The Agreement was approved by Congress in December, 2010, and is expected to be implemented by 2015.
Underground Storage and Recovery of Unused Supplies
The successful storage by the Arizona Water Banking Authority of more than 2-million acre-feet of CAP water specifically for the benefit of CAP municipal subcontractors has significantly reduced the need for Phoenix to independently store water to compensate for future CAP deficits. However, it is still prudent for Phoenix to independently store water to prepare for simultaneous CAP and SRP deficits and increase operational reliability for the benefit of City water customers.
Reclaimed Water Use
As Phoenix water demand grows and existing water resources become more susceptible to drought-related shortages, reclaimed water (a relatively stable water source) will become an increasingly important component in Phoenix's water supply portfolio. A key benefit of reclaimed water is that the available volume increases as overall potable use increases. In addition, as urbanization occurs, reclaimed water currently used for agriculture will become available for other uses.
Funding for new supplies is made available through Water Resource Acquisition Fees which are assessed to new development. This fee structure helps ensure that "growth pays for itself." More information on how Phoenix plans to develop the City's water supply portfolio can be found in the 2011 Water Resource Plan.
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